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Supreme Court Justice Hamilton

John 8:15 (NKJV)
You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.

The context for this passage is extremely interesting. Jesus has snuck up to Jerusalem for Sukkot. And after making a public announcement about who He is (7:37-38; 8:12). And now he's teaching in the temple on Simchat Torah (8:2) and we have the story of the woman caught in adultery. According to v4, it appears they have the required amount of witnesses to confirm her sin and pronounce judgment. Instead, her accusers depart, and Jesus says, "Neither do I condemn you" (v11). At this point the Pharisees challenge Jesus on the authority of his "witness" - the corroboration required by an additional party. While presenting his defense, Jesus makes this interesting statement in v15.

Immediately I'm brought back to the words God spoke to Samuel while looking at Jesse's sons for the next King of Israel: "Man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). This woman, seemingly caught in the act with all the necessary evidence to condemn her, Jesus gets off. It again demonstrated the fallibility of my motives for and abilty to render accurate judgement.

Jesus defended this woman in a manner that causes her accusers to walk away. It as if they were forced to judge themselves before they would have the authority to render judgment. It's no wonder we're admonished by Christ:
"“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." (Matthew 7:1-2)

We understand this concept. But what did Jesus mean when He said He didn't judge anyone? First we need to understand Jesus' purpose in coming. He said "I did not come to judge the world but to save the world" (John 12:47). He came to save. But the words He spoke form the basis for which the Father will judge. And it's those words we can use to judge ourselves. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our own soul as the authority to evaluate our own lives. Yet often I'd rather join forces with others to pronounce judgment on another persons visible transgressions. If I truly desire to be like Christ, it's time for me to take off my robe, come off the bench, relinquish my gavel, and turn my efforts to obedience and mercy.

Lord, thank you for not condemning me. Thanks you for the sweet words, "go and sin no more." Help me not to live so judgmentally of those around me and walk in the freedom that comes from knowing you.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 11, 2010 9:27 AM.

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